The NYTs published two important articles on gender/sex difference last weekend –Boys Will be Boys, Not on These Families, 6/10 and When it Comes to Scandal, Boys Won’t be Girls, 6/11 – with the first taking a seemingly “progressive” position that the old gender stereotypes for boys and girls might finally be falling away. But there was a great irony under girding the piece because the story itself was suffused with those very stereotypes. Every example of the “unconventional gender behavior” engaged in by the “princess boys” was more stereotypical of typical girl behavior than actual. Have you ever noticed that about these kinds of stories, that they trade on the extreme gender stereotypes that don’t even categorize most little girls anyway? The stories trade on the very gender stereotypes they are praising as passing away!
And the second piece about why women don’t have infamous Weiner/Stanford/Spitzer/Clinton episodes was brilliant, showing us in dramatic form that men and women really are quite different in very important, highly consequential ways. And this is not just an American reality. As I show in the appendix of my newest book, Secure Daughters, Confident Sons, very recent and sophisticated global anthropological research shows that where ever you find men and women, men tend to always be the more sexually exploratory, adventurous and chance-taking. Women tend to be much more reserved.
Sex difference does indeed matter. I read so in the Times.